Is there a game more glamorous than poker? From James Bond to the Cincinnati Kid, there are endless tales of winners and losers that give the humble game a glitzy and glamorous edge. And what better setting for a high stakes game of Texas Hold ‘Em than the stunning countryside and endless farmland of East Anglia.
Poker is a great ‘sport’ (ducks to avoid pint glass) that can be played by anyone, but it takes a special mind to master it. As well the thrill of a winning hand, the audacity needed to make a huge bluff and the skill needed to keep a totally emotionless poker face (farmers should be good at this), it’s also a great way to take money off total strangers, and say things to people that would normally earn you a smack in the mouth. As well as the dainty, complex calculations and exceptional knowledge of the odds needed to outsmart your opponents, pub poker players need to be good at swearing too.
With better seaside views than Monte Carlo and a much wetter and therefore more comfortable climate than Las Vegas, players visiting the area can enjoy some of the best poker in the world thanks to a great choice of gaming options all over Suffolk. Whether it’s the weekly dog-eat-dog Ipswich PubPoker tournaments or the national Nuts Poker League with plenty of stops on their tour, players are certainly spoilt for choice. To help you find some great places for a game of cards, we’ve picked a few of the best poker options in the county so you can get stuck in and earn some extra cider money.
The pub. The ideal mix of comfort, friendliness and booze. Could it get any better? Well, if you’re in Ipswich and you live near one of the pubs that regularly host midweek poker, then you’re in for an absolute treat.
With four seasons taking place throughout the year consisting of 11 league games, there’s tons of action all over Ipswich nearly every night of the week. The beauty of the PubPoker leagues is that players can visit on any venue on the list, and their wins can be carried over to their overall score, with some big money prizes for the overall season leaders.
If you’re good enough to be in the pool of top players, then it’s off to the finals event, which is all about raising money for charity and playing for the £650 tournament bonus and the top 5 spots. If you make it this far, then you’ll be playing in the qualifiers, then the high 5 event for a potential £5,000 cash prize and a £5,000 semi-pro sponsorship. That’s right, if you’re the best poker player in Ipswich, then you can net 5 grand and backing to start playing professionally! You don’t even need to be a regular player either, with a unique qualifying structure ensuring it’s never to late to make the season finals.
Playing locations include the California social club, where new members are always welcome, Lily’s Bar, The Old Times Guest House, The Farmhouse and the Thrasher. All league games are played for small £4 stakes and 100% of the stakes are paid out onto the night. You’ll need to chuck a quid in for charity, too.
If you fancy a cash game without having to enter the overall tournament, then you should check out Friday nights at the Old Times Guest House. The bets are limited to stay within the law, but there isn’t anywhere else on a Friday night in Ipswich where you can play lightening hands of quick draw Hold ‘Em and have the strict no breaks style tournament play seen at the World Series of Poker. You can almost cut the tension with a knife most weekends.
Your dining room, your house
Fancy getting the train to Great Yarmouth or Southend to visit the overpriced casinos for a night of expensive drinks and argumentative people trying to take the Michael out the dealer? We didn’t think so! So why not get your football / farming / work mates round yours for a game of poker? You can organise the perfect game of poker in your own home through following a few simple steps, what are you waiting for? There aren’t many better feelings than taking your mate’s money!
If that isn’t enough to get your poker juices flowing, then we don’t know what is. Short of a trip to the amusements at Clacton pier, these options are easily the best gambling kick you’ll get without having to leave Suffolk.
The Nuts poker league
Whilst the Ipswich PubPoker league is an absolute behemoth of a poker offering, there is another contender for biggest and most exciting game of poker in Suffolk. The Nuts poker league is Britain’s biggest, sexiest, meanest and most lucrative pub poker event ever. Played in pubs all over the country, the top 40 getting an invite to the finals at the end of the year. There’s a sweet 10k up for grabs for the winner, as well as any tournament prize money won up to that point, which will easily be in the thousands.
There are league games all over Suffolk and over the border in Norfolk, but who wants to go there eh. You’ll be up against the best of the best if you dare to venture to a league game however, so prepare for some hardcore competition. If you can brave the mean streets of Lowestoft and find yourself at the Ship Inn, then you’ll need to topple the mean machines that are Bob ‘Wood Butcher’ Janney, ‘Muggy’ Mike Linfield and Steven ‘Never Bluffs’ Burwood before you’re in with a shot at the big time.
First time players and beginners are always welcome, but remember that this is pub poker and even if you’re lovely and explain nicely that you’re a beginner (which is an absolute no no), people will still skin you alive at the first chance they get. You’re best off getting some practice in at home with your mates, the perfect starting point for newbies who want to learn the ropes without Barry ‘Murder Van’ Graham taking your chips off you after 5 minutes.